Update (Sat 15th Feb, 2020 12:30 GMT): In response to Pokémon GO players being left frustrated at misleading ticket prices (original story below), Niantic has shared an official statement. Ticket pricing has been adjusted to reflect the hidden costs, although no apology for or explanation behind the initial pricing has been given:
"Previous advertising for Pokémon GO Safari Zone Liverpool tickets didn’t include the service fee and VAT costs. We’re updating all ticket listings today.
The ticket pricing is now listed as: “£21.60 for Early Access and £14.4 for General Admission. A £3.6 service fee will be added to each order (up to 4 tickets per order). The City Explorer Pass add-on is £9.60. All prices are inclusive of VAT."
Original Article (Fri 14th Feb, 2020 14:30 GMT): This morning was supposed to be a wonderful time for the UK's biggest Pokémon GO fans, with tickets to the upcoming Safari Zone event in Liverpool going on sale to the public. Instead, some have been left upset and frustrated at the cost of entry, which is significantly higher than advertised.
Niantic's marketing for the event has stated that "general admission tickets will be £12, and early access tickets will be £18" leading up to the tickets going on sale. When attempting to buy tickets, these prices are also advertised right up until the penultimate screen at checkout, when suddenly a £3/£4.20 charge for "tax" and a separate £3 charge for "fees" are thrown on top.
In the UK, the cost of products and services are always shown with tax included, leading some fans to brandish the advertisement behind the Safari Zone tickets as "illegal". Players over at TheSilphRoad's subreddit, a community of dedicated fans, have been threatening to contact - and in some cases, going ahead with contacting - the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (or ASA).
The ASA's guidance on the matter is pretty straightforward, with the only exception to the rule being for costs to taxpayers who would normally recover VAT, or for those who don't pay it in the first place (thanks, Eurogamer):
"Rule 3.18 of the CAP Code states that 'quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers'."
We'll keep an eye out for any official response from Niantic as the situation progresses.
If £3 makes that much of a difference you shouldn't be going out at all.
It is certainly sneaky but this has been the norm for public events since forever. Music gigs, comedy shows, festivals, etc etc all have additional booking fees that aren't mentioned until the payment stage
@PorllM Fees yes, tax nope. VAT is always included in prices which is clearly stated by the ASA. They’ve done wrong and hopefully something comes of this because it’s the cornerstone of our advertisement laws.
Wish it was like that here in America. Every company here makes tons off of fees alone. For instance, buying two $30 tickets to a concert recently resulted in a $30 fee at checkout.
@nessisonett Sorry I completely missed the mention of tax. Thanks for the correction. That is indeed very scummy, can’t believe they thought they could get away with it!
They always do this in America. They never show tax.
The surcharge for the ticket purchase fees is one thing, but the surcharge for tax may be illegal if it's referring to the VAT.
Item prices must reflect the cost inclusive of VAT.
@RupeeClock Niantic will just get a slap on the wrist, Europe is weak on fines.
It doesn't mean they haven't done wrong though, unintentionally or not.
Given Niantic's recent conduct, people are learning towards intentional omission, just like they continue to omit details like the rates on hatching desired featured Pokémon during an event.
@RupeeClock They had good intention though. Europe understands that, that's why they'll just slap them on the wrist. It's a small matter to Europe.
This concerns UK law specifically, not European law.
Value Added Tax has been a thing in the UK since 1973.
@PorllM learn uk law then maybe you would have a clue!
American company surprised that other countries don't accept America's random-tax surprise at checkout, eh it's a common issue.
They've done Safari Zones in Germany before though, so you'd expect Niantic to know how VAT works by now.
“In the UK, the cost of products and services are always shown with tax included“
I wish this was standard elsewhere.
@Mince What law are you talking about? I know you legally need to display the VAT as part of the price. My second comment made that very clear and my first comment never suggested otherwise. As someone who managed an accounting firm for over a decade and now manages a marketing agency you don't need to tell me how VAT works, I quite literally deal with it every hour.
There is no law saying you can't add booking and admin fees at the checkout, however. If there was, Ticketmaster wouldn't be in business, since such fees are added to ticket sales on the vast majority of concerts, festivals and events. I will happily eat my words if you can show me that law but I'll be claiming my last 30 years of fees back too lol.
@bluesun You really expect the self-absorbed and overconfident personalities in the tech industry to ever learn anything relating to consumer needs? They get ahead in life by getting money from attempting to show how "superior" they are to everyone and stepping on their necks.
Not that our outdated commerce system and governments give a rat's arse about being concerned about such damaging megalomania. Makes the money that they believe keeps them safe in their tribalistic minds from other nations' power play politics and war.
UK sales tax is 20%. So £12 would have £2.40 added, and £18 would have £3.60 added. So the tax amounts aren't even correct. I reckon they perhaps were trying to pull a fast one, and will end up blaming it on a website error! haha
There might be more taxes than just VAT in effect.
I'm not familiar with them but I might anticipate something like an overseas transaction tax, as Niantic are a US based company.
@PorllM except this has fees and tax added on at checkout, while ticketmaster has only admin fees. Your live story is irrelevant
@PorllM 🎖have a medal well done
@RupeeClock It doesn't even work out the same percentage anyway. £3 is 25% of £12, and £4.20 is 23.33% of £18. ¯\__(ツ)__/¯
i wish there was a law against hidden "taxes" and "fees" here in America. Most ticket places I buy from - such as ones for Comicons and concerts - almost always adds a force "convenience" fee on top of the cost of the ticket and its infuriating - sometimes as much as $4 for a $25 ticket.
@Mince Yes I know and the fact they only added the VAT on at the checkout is very scummy like I originally said, what's your point? you almost sound like I defended it when I directly did the opposite?
And yes if you're going to tell me I don't understand the laws of my own country, my background working with that exact law is directly relevant. Not sure why you think I want a medal for having a bog standard job lmao
They appear to be doing (price+fee) x 20%=VAT.
@bluesun Right you are! Well calculated
For the sake of discussion, I figured to give a US view of US pricing. I know a lot of people in Europe have a much more apparent cost for services and products, the States do not add taxes into the Shelf Price of items or services because those individual prices, those taxes themselves, they could easily vary by multiple percentages. If I am purchasing something in a city, I could have a city sales tax, county sales tax, state sales tax, and federal tax all for that same product or service. It very rarely has a city or county tax, however it is much cheaper in the US for a product to have a labeled price and apply the varying tax later. As I live in NJ, I expect a 7% sales tax (currently about 6.375% or something). If I traveled a few miles away, I can buy the same product for no tax as Delaware doesn't have sales tax.
Effectively, the United States Union does not apply cost of tax involved in the apparent price. But it's because so many options of variation occur. EU has it better overall, in my opinion.
Tax is included in prices over there??
Wondered that people pay for this at all. I didnt go anymore since they decided to force people to pay money. Like my several 100 dollar flight tickets arent enough. Nope, not suppoting this money greed anymore. They make more than enough with their microtransactions...
Nintendo as a whole has been getting more and more scummy lately, sucks to say. If they're worried about their public image, well they're doing a bad job of protecting it.
Meanwhile, judging from the comments, us folks in the rest of the world are surprised that buying tickets in the UK doesn't hit you with additional fees on checkout.
I like Pokemon Go, but Niantic is small company that really isn't and wasn't ready for the massive game that PoGo became. Even after all this time I think they need to hire more and more qualified staff. They need people to research things like this, for example before they do it.
@PorllM You are obviously ignorant of the issue. In countries like America, we are used to taxes being added on later, but countries that care more about their consumers have laws that require the advertised price to include taxes. No reason to be a fanboy of Nintendo or Niantic here. They are in the wrong and falsely advertising, stop ignorantly defending everything a company does, especially when they are wrong, just because you enjoy their games.
@bound4earth I literally didn’t defend this at all lol. It’s disgusting, illegal and anti consumer on every level. Niantic should be ashamed of themselves. Read my second comment from very soon after my first one and stop jumping on everything that triggers you without actually reading it.
@bound4earth also I am the absolute opposite of a fan of Niantic, assumptions are never becoming
@PorllM I can't believe people don't read all comments before wondering whether their reply will add anything to the discussion.
By the way, the phrase leading some fans to brandish the advertisement behind the Safari Zone tickets as "illegal" in the article is ridiculously apologetic and has no place in an article about illegal business practices. It's like saying "A man intentionally ran over a cyclist. In the UK, running over cyclists is not allowed, leading some cyclists to brandish the driver as a murderer." They don't just 'brandish' it as being X, it is X! Then again, looking at who wrote this article, it should be of no surprise that because Pokémon's involved, "big company good little man bad lawful practice bad" is the message it intends to give to the readers. It's especially dumb now that the authorities have confirmed that what Niantic were trying to get away with is indeed very much illegal.
Went cold turkey on Go over 2 years ago and don't miss it. Did have hours of fun and met some really nice people when I did play it though. Never spent a penny on it.
Rubbish like this reinforces my belief I made the right decision.
@nintendoknife very true. It’s the same with a lot of smartphone sketchy behaviour, people have blinders on when it comes to video games they enjoy lol
Oh man everyone is getting dislike bombed, can I have some too?
@PBandSmelly I didn't even realise you could get dislikes on here, I must be the champion right? Lol
Still never downloaded the app or "played" it. So glad.
@mesome713 No, they really didn't. If you think a giant money maker corporation like Niantic (Originally backed by the Government sponsored Keyhole branch of Google) is trying to just make good products for peoples entertainment and livelihoods, you are sadly, sadly mistaken.
Its almost as if mobile game developers are just money grabbing scum 🤔
Huh, didn't know this was illegal in other countries. The more I learn about Europe, the more I dislike America. :/
Niantic getting greedy!
So, you're saying UK law wouldn't tolerate TicketMaster's (as my friend would call them) "fee fees".
(that is, the most infamous US ticket seller for predatory added-fees pricing)
It's very telling how all of their marketing for the event, either pre or post ticket sales has now been updated. Good job they've released a statement admitting the fault.....
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